Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Cleaning up is such a pain in my butt

I talked about my dislike for designing in my last blog, however as much as I hate to design, I really hate to clean. I also hate the mess I create so I live in this vicious circle of hating it and yet hating to clean it up.  But I began the task after Jamboree as I told myself I would.  I had almost finished the clean up, and also was able to put together a start to my fall display (most of what you see if it's stitching related is discontinued so I was able to bring them home.  Most of my stitching resides in the shop.  But it was nice to at last get something representing the season displayed.  Usually it just doesn't get done at all.

The only thing left to clean up after Monday was my sewing machine, thread and bobbin case, as I had to work on the finishing of a Brenda Gervais piece.  Yesterday, Tuesday, I got the pillow sewn and I thought I was home free and moved the sewing machine.  Eureka, dining room almost done.  And then this morning, things started coming out of the stitching room back to the dining room.  Drat!!! I sure do hate when that happens.  And now, "Boo to You" by Brenda Gervais

 "Boo to you " by Brenda Gervais has certainly not gone the way I intended.  I stitched it on 28 ct. linen so it would be a tad bit bigger than it was supposed to be.  But I was alright with the size however as you recall in the last blog, I think, I talked about having to rip out and restitch the head 3 times.  Finally back to the original colors and thought I was home free.  I had thought about making this into a pillowcase slipcover.  But in my haste to get this done, I cut the extra fabric which I felt I needed to do it, so a change was made to a regular pillow.  I put the pillow together and remembered I was going to make the necklace out of clay.  I love 3-dimensional items added to my stitching to give it some dimension.  I use beads or fancy stitches and this time Brenda designed the pumpkin girl with a candy corn necklace.  Well, I saw that and just knew I had to make one out of clay and attach it to her instead of stitching it.  After all, what could go wrong?  Only 3 colors, yellow, white and orange, right, easy, peezy, or so I thought.  I eventually got one made, after much trial and error on size, strung it on jewelry wire and put it in the oven to bake.  That was the last easy job I had.  When I felt it had baked enough, I strung it through the linen and found it didn't exactly lay flat against her as I wanted it to.  But I could get it to do that if I stitched it down.  So that wasn't a real problem.  The problem was the thin wire I was using wouldn't stay straight, because of course, I couldn't leave it alone.  It would crinkle every time I touched it, which is not a surprise but it was driving me crazy so I left it alone and decided to look at it the next day and evaluate it then.  So the next morning, the first thing I checked on was that darn necklace, decided I couldn't live with it and I then proceeded to make prototype 2.    This is "do or die" time people.  This had to get done that day as it was a gift that had to be given over the weekend.  YIKES!!!   Anyway, as you can see the mission was accomplished, although I did decide to use #12 pearl cotton as the necklace and I did use a stain on the candy corn so it wasn't so bright.  While I don't think it is reflected in the picture the staining of the candy corn was needed and it then matched the linen and finishing.  Then it became time to clean up and put away everything day.  Next, it was on to food for our CA Wells Memorial Weekend.  My part of the food was my Leek and Potato soup with crusty bread, and my chocolate/peanut butter cookies. Everyone brings food to this event so I was eating hearty this weekend.  Stasi Stinson's Mexican Salad or Dorito Salad as Sara named it,  is my favorite salad of all time.  She's not allowed to bring anything else...that salad has to come or I'm going home. I can report that the weekend was a great success, although we were missing a few key people.  Jackie Janovsky who always brings her caramel corn, was sidelined by a shoulder injury and she can't move for a couple of months.  Ooh, Jackie we are sorry you weren't there, especially after we realized there was no caramel corn (just kidding, we also missed you).  Our Judy Brunclik was still dealing with her mother-in-law's death, and cleaning out her house..(so sorry Judy, you were missed as well).   Candy couldn't get a baby-sitter for Jace and her mother forgot (again, you were missed) and last but not least, our Kay Fletcher was sidelined, but she sent us a fruit bouquet that was so beautiful and tasty and I got to bring the leftovers home.  Thank you Kaybe...we missed you.  But those of us left standing were there and eating, laughing, punching pumpkins and stitching.  Yes, I punched a large pumpkin with the sugar skull design....well, I should revise that with I was doing that when I punched a little hard and the drill went through the pumpkin.  But Debbie and Stasi and Michelle all finished theirs with no problem.  Believe me, we realized why I had the epic fail (operator error) so I've brought more pumpkins home and will be doing it again this week.  Sara missed all the action because she had to work, as did Kathy, but they strolled over to grab food, so we did see them.  And Sara finished punching the epic fail pumpkin after I showed her what I did.  (Eyeballs were rolling when I showed her-I don't know where she gets that habit every time I appear.)  Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend spent with stitching friends.  A couple of projects got finished, a few more got started and amazingly enough....I did nothing but talk.  The closest I got to stitching was I took the fibers out of my stitching tote.   I'm blaming that on my pumpkin fail.  I was depressed.   Monday dawned and Stasi and Debbie left and I took the day off to stitch and straighten up, yet once again.  My kitchen and dining room are almost done, but the living room has had stuff I brought home from the shop and office dumped there now....but I'm certain this week I will complete all of it.    I was also certain that I could punch the pumpkin and we saw how successful that was.  Well as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas I'm sure many of us will be busy stitching and finishing, so I will wish all the stitchers a big "Good Luck" with getting things done and I'll be letting you know how it's going for me.  So take care and try to keep those needles moving through the fabric.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tired but I made it through Jamboree...........Yeah!!!!

I'm telling you it's getting harder and harder for me to make it through the events.  And it takes longer to recover...darn getting old is taking a toll on me.  I've been exhausted all day, but I can't seem to just lay down and sleep.  So I've decided to blog instead.  The weekend was wonderful, fabulous, and I just can't say enough about the fabulous designers but the attendees as well.  It was a great group of stitchers, Everett (the only brave male attendee) and 68 women, so it was a bit busy, but everyone I saw had a smile on their face the entire time as they ran by,  either to go to class, go to lunch, go to dinner or get to the reception.  So a big Thank You to all the stitchers who came to the event.  We really appreciate your traveling, leaving your family, to spend the weekend with us.  And of course a big Thank you to Cathy, Janice and Vicky for bringing such fun and wonderful projects for the attendees.   The projects were great...Janice, Noteworthy Needle... prepped the pumpkins so the stitchers could hit the ground running on that project and I am fascinated with this project.  Janice left the Salty Yarns pumpkin, she asked if we wanted her to take it home to finish, but of course, I said NO, I want to do it.  Unfortunately, I left it in the car by mistake and I'm too tired at the moment to go retrieve it...but after a short rest, I'm going to get it so you know I'll be working on it tonight.  I've already told Sara I want to do several.  And Sara gave me the kit to do the 3 new Halloween designs to go with the Apothecary Series I already stitched and finished so I'll be trying to get them done before the 31st. as well.  Can't wait to get to work on this stuff.   And with CA Wells Memorial weekend coming up I told Debbie, Stasi Buhrman, Stacy Stinson, hell, everyone bring a pumpkin since I have one of the drills and we can punch the holes and stitch these pumpkins on and off all weekend.  I say on and off as I'm told your fingers get tired and you have to take breaks.  But let's face it there isn't that much stitching to do and the holes take pearl cotton, so I expect this to go fairly quickly.  If it's anything like the last projects I had, that will not happen.   In the last blog I blogged about the 2 kits I was forced to design (yes, I was forced-and it was my own fault- so I had to force myself).  While I had finished the stitching on Friday, Saturday morning I was packaging the kits, with the help of Brian and Vernon, so I made the deadline but never again people.  I've never liked the designing part of counted work, and this just reminded me of that.  But here are the two designs...
This was "The Gang's All Here" designed to go on the top of one of the tin boxes I've been going on about.  So the design is 2" X 2" and fits on a tin box, stitched over 1 with 1 thread on 32 ct. PTP Pampus linen.  I finished it with black chenille around the design.  The 2nd design had to be different in size due to the fact the original tin box was discontinued.  This required!a lot more design, ugh!

This was called, "Pumpkins for Sale" and it too was stitched on 32 ct. Pampus PTP linen over 1 thread using 1 strand.  I cannot tell you how relieved I was after getting them to the stitchers, but I am serious about never having to design again.  HATED IT!  My theory has always been that I don't need to design my own as I love what is being designed by others and wouldn't be able to think of anything greater than that.  Glad I'm done with that.  Since I started the blog I slipped out to the car and here's the result of my pumpkin stitching.  Sara and I went to Serendipity Quilt Shop to get some fabric and on the way back stopped at Michael's to get more pumpkins, just in case my order doesn't get here by the weekend.  It's going to be a pumpkin palooza at the hotel for CA Wells Memorial Weekend.  
While the stitchers enjoyed their pumpkin project, some complained about fingers hurting, and needles bending and breaking.  So I had the benefit of watching out for that.  These are stitched using the loop method of threading your needle as 2 strands of pearl cotton are needed.  I decided to see if I could use just one strand if things would go smoother.  And I have to report, for me, they did.  I didn't have to tug the needle through the hole as it just slid on through so my fingers weren't sore, no needles broke or were bent.  The disadvantage was that I had to go in and out of each hole twice, but frankly I didn't mind because it was easier to stitch.  I did find the stitch a bit awkward at first and I tried several different ways to hold on to the pumpkin while I stitched but finally just gave up on that as it's going to take some getting used to when you are sewing on a pumpkin.  In the beginning, I also had to look into the pumpkin and find the holes as I couldn't figure it out.  I would think the needle was on the hole when I was actually 3-4 holes away.  That was frustrating at first, but a few letters in I started to get the hang of it and by the time I got to about the 5th letter I was no longer looking into the pumpkin.  It really just requires patience to get used to holding the pumpkin, finding the correct hole and you will be good to go.  Now I can't wait to get more pumpkins and create a pumpkin display.  Thank God Janice has books to go with this, and not just Halloween but also fall.  Fun times ahead stitchers.  But before I get more pumpkins I'm back to the 2 Brenda Gervais projects I put on hold before Jamboree to say nothing of the Sampler Santa which I had started.  No wonder I don't want to design, I'm too busy trying to stitch what I already have, and couldn't finish these if I lived to be 500.  Got to run, stitching to be done.  Talk to you soon.  Have a wonderful weekend and I hope your needle meets your linen or Aida this week.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Where does the time go?

I tend to ask myself after what feels like a long period of not posting.  But in this case, I have the excuse of "events are coming."  While Sara prepares by ordering massive amounts of supplies, my days are spent searching for suitable scrapbook paper for bag tags, for instance, this weekend tag for the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild.  After finding a suitable paper, charms,etc., I set out to make them.
Because I have the Fall Retreat next weekend I started early, 2 weeks ago, getting approx 110 tags done so I could concentrate on other things that need finishing.  Two days before the first of October,  I remembered the Year of Celebration-October from Hands on Design needed to be stitched and finished, so I now can check that off my list. This series has been so much fun to stitch.  Each one takes approx. 2 days so if you are stitching yours monthly, as I have been, each project is so easily completed from the first stitch to finishing.   I'm so proud of myself to have continued this so nicely and even more thrilled that I will have completed all twelve in 2 more months.  Yes, 12 stitched, finished and in the shop by December 1st.   
I stitched this on 32 ct. PTP Wren linen and used Weeks Dye Works fibers I had sitting around me.  Apparently, I was too lazy to even bring the correct fibers home with me, although I didn't realize I didn't have them until I started stitching.  So I used fibers I had pulled for my Halloween projects.  I did trade the fiber they used on the tree for DMC 310 and the purple I used was Weeks Peoria Purple.  I used GA Bankers Gray but I think I should have gone with a lighter gray because the
"boo" really doesn't show off that well.  I used the called for orange for the pumpkins and border and the called for fiber for the moon,  and DMC white for the ghosts.  I broke my tradition of backing the pieces with Weeks Wool and added scrapbook paper for the backing to give it more pop.  Then I felt I needed something to ease the transition from the stitching to the paper so I added a black rick rack.  Voila!  October is now hanging on a black hornbook in the shop.   Because it's been a month since I appeared to have stitched anything I also wanted to complete one of the 3 Halloween pieces I had pulled to have completed in October for Delaware Sampler Guild Weekend so I pulled out the smallest project and two days later it was finished and now in the shop.  Brenda Gervais "Holiday Hoopla-Halloween."  Since I had a frame ready to go, I decided to stitch this on 32 ct. Tropical Green to fit this frame.  Brenda stitched the original on 36 ct. PTP Kermit.  As usual, I traded out the black for DMC 310, but after that, I used her recommendations basically.   When it came time to finish, I did make a change on how I attached the broom to the broomstick.  Brenda made a tassel and attached it to the fabric.  I sewed my broom onto the stick.  The pedestal frame came originally to Sea Trader with rustic embroidery in it.  But since we don't carry that sort of thing in the gift shop we called the company to have them take it back.  Periodically when the merchandise is inexpensive the company just tells you to donate it, use it or throw it away so they don't have to pay to take it back.  When Sara said they didn't want it back, I grabbed them and took them home because I knew I would use the frame.  However, it's taken me several years to find just the right project, so I was as thrilled with the frame as I was the design.  It's perfect and all I had to do was take out the design inside and paint the frame black.  It came with the glass, but of course with the broom the glass was left off.    
Last week when I was putting off one of my chores for Jamboree, I finished the tags for the Halloween part of Jamboree.  I use to make all the tags the same, but a few years ago someone told me they wish we wouldn't make Jamboree so Halloween oriented since they weren't fond of it.  Funny how we just assume if we like something everyone else does as well, isn't it?  But I listened and for the past couple of years, I've been making Fall tags and Halloween tags so everyone has a choice which tags to use.  Here are the tags for 2019 ready to go a week early...Yeah!!!
Next, I had to do the Chocolate Covered peanut butter cookies, done!  So for me the jobs for this weekend are completed so here I sit at home during an event weekend (a first for me since I am usually in the shop), so I feel a little strange, but not strange enough to go see what's happening.  Also, I may be ahead with tags, but I still have around 100 cookies for Jamboree to do along with a special kit which back in July I thought would be a great idea.  In September I found out the great idea was no longer looking so great, but I told Sara I would do it in July, supplies were ordered so there is no backing out now.  Because not everyone likes Halloween, we needed two different kits so each stitcher could choose.  Oh, it sounded so wonderful in July.  I ordered the metal boxes I love so much to use as a base and didn't worry when I received only 48 when I needed at least 70.  But by September, and after questioning about my progress by Sara, I contacted the company to be told they were no longer available as they were discontinued, but they had a new metal box.  Oh, no not the same at all.  Which meant I would need to find 2 different size charts.  My original thinking was I would use one of the designer's charts which we would include with the box, fabric, etc.  Easy.   The original box was easy, I thought since I've used published charts for  2 different samples already.  But as the days in September ticked off without any sign of a new chart appearing, it became obvious I had only 1 solution.  I was going to have to design again, which I have to say is probably my least favorite thing in the world (well stepping on a scale is my least favorite, but this is a close 2nd.)  Fortunately, when Vernon transferred several files and programs over to the new computer he managed to transfer my charting program as well, but of course, it didn't recognize the new computer so it wouldn't save anything.  I saw this as a bad omen for things to come and I wasn't far off.   But after a phone call and a couple of false starts, I managed to get it saving and I was off.  I can confirm I still hate designing.  My theory on my designing is....there are so many fabulous designers, there is just no incentive for me to do it.  I love other designers work and have an endless supply of charts, etc., of theirs.  Damn, I do not like having to do this, but on I went.  After a week I finally got the Halloween finished.  I thought the hard part was over for Halloween until I started the stitch.  The PTP is dense linen and while I had just completed 2 projects using the 32 ct. lovely green Pampus linen, they were beautiful to stitch over 2 threads.  Over 1 thread I struggled, but think it could be because of my age, 71, and my eyesight.  After completing the piece I took it to Sara and explained my problem and the thought of designing another piece for fall and then stitching it on the same linen was daunting, well let's just say Sara was not receptive to my changing linen at this point as she rolled her eyes, raised her voice and said, "I'd prefer you didn't change since I already ordered 6 yards of Pampus for you."  I reminded her that I ordered 4 yards and the other 2 she ordered for the shop, but that didn't seem to help.  I told her I'd use the Pampus and just resigned myself, although it's such a beautiful color and I do love stitching on it over 2, I just needed to focus on the job at hand and get it done.  I finished putting the Halloween kits together with the finishing materials, and fibers.  I then pulled out the new metal box to try to come up with an idea and realized I couldn't use the same finishing I used on the original box, because of the shape.  What I chose to use meant I would have to finish all the new boxes myself as I decided to use Wasabi tape on them and you can't cut off pieces of Wasbi tape for each individual kit.  Crap, one more job...why did I think this was a good idea?  But I finally got those boxes done last week and with 10 days left I meant to start the design.  Well, I did start the design was relatively pleased but didn't think it was enough and I've been in design hell ever since.  But this time next week the kits will be presented to the stitchers so I'm in crunch time.  Today I'm dedicating my time to finishing the design because I still have to stitch it, pull the threads for the kits and box everything, run the charts, add directions...oh crap I don't have any more time for blogging.  Let you know how it goes in the next blog.  Have a wonderful weekend.